31 August-von Zeppelin

Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship in which the structure is supported by a framework usually made of aluminium. They are named after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who was a native of Germany.

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was born in Konstanz, Grand Duchy of Baden on July 8th 1838. He served as army officer from 1855 to 1890. In 1895 he was given a patent for his navigable balloon. He made his first flight in a ‘lighter than air’ aircraft over Lake Constance on July 2nd 1900.

Over 100 Zeppelins were used during World War I. However the widespread use of Zeppelins came to an end with Hindenburg Disaster in 1939.

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, designer and manufacturer of airships, was granted a patent for his navigable balloon in the year 1895 On This Day.




30 August-Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley was an author who was a native of England. She is best known for her horror novel ‘Frankenstein’. She was the wife of the English poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in London in 1797. She received most of her education at home. In 1816 she married Percy Bysshe Shelley is one of the most highly regarded Romantic poets in the English language. She published her most famous novel, ‘Frankenstein’ in 1818. She went on to publish several other books including, ‘The Last Man’ and ‘Lodore’.

Mary Shelley, who is best known as the author of the horror novel ‘Frankenstein’ was born in the year 1797 On This Day.



30 August-Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney was a renowned Irish poet, playwright and professor. He was the recipient of several prizes during his lifetime, including the Nobel Prize in Literature. When he died in 2013 he was described in the British newspaper, The Independent as ‘probably the best-known poet in the world’.

Seamus Justin Heaney was born in Mossbawn near Toomebridge Co Derry on the shores of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland on April 13th 1939. He attended Anahorish Primary school and was awarded a scholarship to St Columb’s College in the city of Derry. When Heaney completed his secondary education he went on to study at Queen’s University in Belfast. He graduated with an Honours Degree in English Language and Literature in 1961.

Following graduation Seamus Heaney worked for time as a school teacher before becoming a college lecturer at St Joseph’s Teacher Training College in Belfast. In 1966 he was appointed lecturer in Modern English Literature at Queen’s University Belfast. Heaney published his first book ‘Eleven Poems’ in 1965. In 1966 the publication of ‘Death of a Naturalist’ won several awards and received immense acclamation. During his lifetime Seamus Heaney went on to publish several acclaimed books of poetry including ‘North’ (1974), ‘Station Island’ (1984), ‘The Spirit Level’ (1996) and ‘District and Circle’ (2006).

Heaney continued with his career as a university lecturer and in 1970 he was a guest lecturer at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. In 1972 he was appointed lecturer at Carysfort College, Blackrock, Co Dublin. He was appointed first as visiting Professor at Harvard in 1981 and from 1985 until 1997 as Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory. He later became ‘Poet in Residence’. He was also elected as professor of Poetry at Oxford between 1989 and 1994.

Seamus Heaney was elected a Saoi of Aosdána (the Irish academy of artists and writers), in 1997 and was the recipient of numerous awards. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. His literary papers are held by the National Library of Ireland. Whilst he was attending St Columb’s his brother was killed in a road accident and in ‘Mid-Term Break’ in 1966 he wrote:

“Wearing a poppy bruise on the left temple,

He lay in the four foot box as in a cot.

No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.”

Seamus Heaney, renowned Irish poet, playwright, professor and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature died in Dublin at the age of 74 in the year 2013 On This Day.

Seamus Heaney



29 August-Éamon de Valera

Éamon de Valera was one of the major political figures in Ireland during the 20th century. He was involved in Irish political affairs from 1917 to 1973. de Valera served several terms as head of government and in his later years he served as President of Ireland.

Éamon de Valera was born in New York City on October 14th 1882. He moved to Ireland at the age of two and grew up in Bruree, Co Limerick. He qualified as a teacher and joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913. He was involved in the Easter Rising of 1916 and was court-martialled and sentenced to death. The sentence was later commuted to penal servitude for life.

The Irish War of Independence ended with signing of a truce between the British and Irish on July 11th 1921. The Anglo-Irish Treaty was negotiated in 1921 between the British Government and representatives of the Irish Republic. The Treaty led to the establishment of the Irish Free State. The Treaty established Ireland as a self-governing Free State and was ratified by Dáil Eireann 64 votes to 57 by in January 1922.

When those opposed to the Treaty lost the vote, they walked out of parliament led by Éamon de Valera. They began a campaign of violent opposition to the Treaty and Civil War ensued. The Irish Free State came into being on December 6th 1922. The civil war ended in victory for the supporters of the Treaty on May 24th 1923.

In 1926 de Valera founded a new political party, Fianna Fáil. The party has played a major role in Irish politics since its foundation. On March 9th 1932, Fianna Fáil entered government for the first time. Since then it has been in government more than any other political party. Éamon de Valera served as Taoiseach for 21 years. He also served as President of Ireland for two terms

Éamon de Valera, one of the major political figures in Ireland during the 20th century, died aged 92 in the year 1975 On This Day.

President Éamon de Valera with his ADC and Donie Nolan of Carlow

Courtesy Donie Nolan Facebook



28 August-Willie John McBride

Willie John McBride is a rugby legend who played at lock for Ireland on 63 occasions from 1962 to 1975. He was captain on eleven occasions. McBride was captain of the British and Irish Lions which successfully toured South Africa in 1974. In all, he toured with the Lions on five occasions.

Willie John McBride was born William James McBride into a farming family at Toomebridge, County Antrim on June 6th 1940. He was educated at Ballymena Academy where he began playing rugby at the age of 17. He played his first test for Ireland against England at Twickenham on February 10th 1962.

Later that he year McBride was selected to tour with the Lions in South Africa. He went on to tour with the Lions on five occasions and played in 17 test games. He captained Lion’s team which toured South Africa in 1974. The Lion’s won the Test series 3-0, the first ever win in South Africa for the Lions.

McBride scored his only try for Ireland in the second last game of his career when Ireland defeated France 25-6 at Lansdowne Road in 1975. After his final game for Ireland against Wales in Cardiff on March 15th 1975 McBride announced his retirement. He received an MBE in 1971 and was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 1997.

Willie John McBride, Irish international rugby football player, announced his retirement from international rugby in the year 1975 On This Day.

Landsdowne Road